Oversharing with Twitter and RSS

November 28, 2008 § 2 Comments

Last night I stayed up way too late playing with RSS feeds. Perhaps I’m a little slow on the uptake (not unusual for me), but I discovered a couple of new tools that allow me to use RSS technology to push out information to my Twitter followers and blog readers. And here I thought all the time that RSS feeds are a way for me only to collect information. Now I know RSS can be used as a way to share. This is a very exciting realization for me.

Yesterday, I discovered Twitterfeed, which allows you to set up RSS activity to feed into your Twitter feed. You can set up feeds from your blogs, your link sharing sites, including Facebook posts and tools like Ma.gnolia or Delicious, and probably some other sources that I haven’t thought of.

As a chronic oversharer (in more of a reference librarian kind of way, not in a TMI way), I immediately saw the usefulness. So I have set up four feeds; one from each of my blogs so that each time I make a new post it will automatically send out a tweet; one from my Facebook Posted Items feed; and another from my Ma.gnolia feed with all of the links that I tag with “reference”. I’m thinking about setting up a special feed there especially for Twitter link sharing. Possibly more on that later.

Hopefully, my followers will find this interesting and not annoying. These tools will no doubt increase my follow cost. This is a concept I find a little paradoxical. I mean, you follow people on Twitter because you’re interested in what they’re tweeting, right? I’m not saying more is better, but Twitter is an information sharing tool. Anyway, I hope that these feeds don’t become obnoxious.

I also figured out how to use some RSS widgets through my WordPress blogs. I set up my Twitter feed to update in the sidebars (that was kind of a “duh” moment for me), and I also set up some Ma.gnolia link feeds to update there. If you look to the right below the Meebo box, you will see my latest Ma.gnolia links tagged with “Social Change” and from my “Fundraising and Philanthropy” and “Development Research” groups.

These tools for me are just like Christmas; I find joy in receiving and sharing the gifts of information technology.

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§ 2 Responses to Oversharing with Twitter and RSS

  • ThomasT says:

    I’m not saying more is better, but Twitter is an information sharing tool.

    Those who are in the “Twitter is a conversation tool” sub-camp (conversation being a subset of information sharing, IMO), hate twitterfeed. I think a twitter-specific Ma.gnolia tag that gets twitter-fed is a good idea – you will be more conscious about sharing the link, and more likely to make sure that the link description will be meaningful in twitter. Similarly, when you write a new blog post, consider whether it’s worth tweeting, and write a tweet with link, rather than relying on twitterfeed to post it for you. The tweet will be more likely to make sense and thus attract traffic.

    Personally speaking, I take a more moderate stance than some (who unfollow at the first hint of RSS-based tweeting). If I get a follow and go and see that a twitter account is all twitterfeed tweets, I generally will not follow back, and I unfollow those who twitterfeed too heavily. But if it’s a profile with primarily human-written tweets, with a few twitterfeed posts scattered in, I’ll probably follow, but as my eyes scan my stream, I’m more likely to skip and not click links in twitterfeed tweets.

    There’s also FriendFeed, which I don’t fully grok yet, but is essentially an aggregator, where I can say, find you on Facebook, and then be exposed to your Ma.gnolia, Twitter, and blogging activity.

  • Sarah says:

    Thanks, Thomas. I can certain see how overusing RSS technology to push your Twitter account could be annoying, but I don’t really understand why one would be a purist about it as long as people don’t abuse it. Since I started using it, I have noticed a few others that I follow are using it, too. One uses it exclusively, it seems, and every tweet is another blog post. He posts numerous times a day, and I do indeed find this quite tedious and impersonal, to say the least. Mostly, though, I am seeing others using it like I do, tweeting links through bookmarking sites, and posts from blogs that are updated perhaps once or twice a week. Most of us use twitter as a conversation tool, as you describe. Again, I can see why people would be less inclined to click a link posted via RSS, but for me it depends on the person. If I know them to be thoughtful and interesting, I will be more inclined to check it out.

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